Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan withdrawal’

Afghanistan, Iran and U.S. power

April 19, 2021

This is from a message by my e-mail pen pal Bill Harvey.  It’s as good an analysis as I’ve seen lately. .

Whether my speculation on the continuing US presence in Afghan has much to do with their intransigence there, I can’t see the pressure-on-Iran angle as water under the bridge, whatever the status of the nuclear deal.

There are at least these factors: –

Long-time obsession, certainly 1979 on, with Iran for many of the people with a say in making the decisions. –

Iran’s role in MEast:

US fealty to Israel.

US- Saudi relationship, though not as firm as it used to be, remains in operational high gear.

Iran’s reach throughout the region-  Hezbollah; the Houthis; the Palestinians; the Assad regime; the ascendant position of the Shias in Iraq, courtesy of the Bush II gang.

What am I missing?

Yes, there’s the pivot to Asia where I agree our greater focus should be, but these factors in MEast won’t be overlooked any time soon.

– Iran in US-Europe entanglements- finance capital and energy policy, where the US squeeze on Europe has all but slipped away. And NATO, which has taken a hit recently from Trump (even a broken clock is right twice a day), will continue to be a sore point, especially when the Afghanistan post-mortems begin and many European commentators will be asking “How did we ever get into THAT?”

– Iran itself has been and continues to be a big plum for imperial gazers. In addition to all the other factors I list here: oil; other resources?  – natural gas in the field in the Gulf and co-administered with Quatar is the largest reserve in the world; 75 million relatively prosperous (or could be) souls- quite a market opportunity (The Burger King in Pristina, tennis shoes, movies, bank loans for mega-dams…); and quite a few hands to work the small assembly industry that once was growing in Iran; yet another “threat” for military producers and their flunkies to use to gas up Congress (as if they need it). … …

– Internal Iranian politics- properly speaking, not a factor for this list, but a factor: Who in Iran, of whatever political persuasion, could sensibly trust the US on anything?

– THE UPSHOT: The imperialists are between a rock and a hard place. Everywhere their options are limited by the will of others and most of those limited options have obvious unhappy downsides for them. Their stumble-bumbling is rooted in this predicament. It’s dangerous.


No end yet to the long war in Afghanistan

December 31, 2014

As we enter a new year, the United States is still entangled in Afghanistan, and as far from accomplishing any positive objectives as it always was.

President Obama’s declaration that the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan is over is as hollow as President George W. Bush’s declaration of “mission accomplished” in Iraq.

My guess is that President Obama is in the same situation as President Richard M. Nixon in regard to Vietnam.  Nixon and Henry Kissinger realized the war was not winnable, but were unwilling to be the ones who admitted defeat.  So the war went on.

As Lt. John Kerry said back then, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”


Hat tip for the following links to Iraq Veterans Against the War and my e-mail pen pal Bill Harvey.

U.S. formally ends war in Afghanistan by Lynne O’Donnell for the Associated Press.

Signed agreement locks in ten more years of Afghan war by Sarah Lazare for Common Dreams.

1,000 paratroopers to deploy to Iraq by Michelle Tan in Army Times.


What the meaning of “withdrawal” is

January 16, 2013

President Barack Obama wants to keep U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan after the official troop withdrawal, but Afghan President Hamid Karzai says “no.”

Hamid Karzai

Hamid Karzai

Obama said the Special Forces are needed to train Afghan police and militias to fight the Taliban.  Karzai said the presence of a residual American force would simply draw attacks.  The seems to settle it.  The training mission couldn’t possibly work without the cooperation of the Afghan government.

We had a similar situation with the withdrawal of ground troops from Iraq.  Obama wanted to keep a residual force there, but Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said any remaining Americans in Iraq must be subject to Iraqi law, which was a deal-breaker.

Recall that both Karzai and al-Maliki came to power in elections held under U.S. auspices.   I guess it is a tribute to the integrity of the elections that neither ruler is a complete U.S. puppet, and that both need to respond to public opinion.  But it also is an indication of the failure of U.S. efforts of nation-building in those two countries.

When the United States helped the Germans and Japanese rebuild their economies after World War Two, some people said the best thing that could happen to a country was to go to war with the US and lose.  That was not meant seriously, but I don’t think anybody would say that today, even as a joke.   I don’t think there are many people in the Middle East or Central Asia, no matter how tyrannical their governments may be, who hope for an American invasion and occupation.

Click on Afghans want withdrawal of village police trainers for the Washington Post article.  Hat tip to Kevin Drum.

Click on “We’re bombs and we’re here to help” for a pertinent comment by “B Psycho”.

No exit yet from Afghanistan

June 23, 2011

Click to view

President Barack Obama last night announced a plan to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan from more than 100,000 to between 60,000 and 70,000.  But the United States will still be making a stronger war effort than under President George W. Bush.  When left office, U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan was under 40,000.

What Obama is doing is not a reversal of policy.  His position in 2008, like Senator Kerry’s in 2004, was that, by invading Iraq, the United States was fighting the wrong war, and that the U.S. government should be shifting its forces from Iraq to Afghanistan.  Obama is doing what he said was going to do—unfortunately.